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Club History

In 1957, a dozen local sailors, led by Doctor Herbert Kerman, founded the Halifax Sailing Association, affectionately known as HSA.  They had vision, determination, and passion. Their intent: "To find a better way to attract more boats, more sailors, and to organize better races and other sailing events." This continues to be a tradition we have upheld for over 65 years. HSA is one of the oldest and most active sailing clubs in Central Florida.

In the 1960’s, the club stored the few Optimist Prams they owned in a small shed on City Island (where the current Rowing Club is located, behind the City Island Library). Over the years, they developed the club’s early training program and taught many kids how to sail, and how to sail successfully!  A number of these kids went on to sail in, and win some very well-known and well-respected sailing regattas all around the country. Some of these sailors are still very active in this sport.

In the mid-1980’s, a group of local sailing clubs - HSA, HRYC (Halifax River Yacht Club), the ERAU Sailing club, and the Hobie Fleet 80 decided to form together as one entity to help each club offset rising marine insurance costs.  The coming together of groups helped each of these clubs to strengthen. Together the group formed under the title of Sailing Center, Inc. (SCI).

In 1985, the current pavilion was built for SCI by the City of Daytona Beach. SCI leases the land and building from the City. HSA, and its affiliates have continued to teach sailing to kids and adults, run races, and provided the community with a fun, low-cost community sailing center.

In 2004, our facility received significant damage after a series of tropical storms and hurricanes. The next year, 2005, the City built and provided the stepped seawall.


In 2007, the club began training its instructors through the US Sailing Level 1 Instructor certification program.  HSA is a recognized US Sailing Community Sailing Club Member.  Currently we have approximately 10-12 US Sailing Level I Certified Instructors among our membership.


In 2007-2008, members Steve Caron and Pete Haley worked together to create our current youth program - Halifax Youth Sailing. HYS has taught and trained many kids to sail. 


In 2014, SCI received its 501 (c) (3) status as a charitable organization.

In 2016 and 2017, Hurricanes Matthew and Irma destroyed our docks. Club members secured a large grant and the membership rebuilt the dock system and have continued to work to improve it.

In 2022, HSA member Lisa Herbster formed a women’s group with the intention of helping women feel more comfortable out on the water with other women. The group is now known as the Windward Women.


In 2023, HSA began to run the youth program again after the pandemic subsided.  Also, in 2023, the membership elected its first female Commodore - Lisa Herbster.

In keeping with the Club's original purpose, we sponsor many races and other sailing activities and provide opportunities to introduce both children and adults to this relaxing sport year after year. We also provide affordable sailing lessons so new sailors can learn to sail the correct way, from experienced, certified instructors. Our facility is located on the Halifax River, close to downtown Daytona Beach, Florida.

HSA has always been considered a small boat club. Most of our boats are centerboard dinghies: Opti's, Sunfish, Capri's and the occasional small multihull, the "Little Boys". None the less, the club has often had a few somewhat larger boats, keelboats from 18' to 30'. Still fairly small, but to us, they were the "Big Boys".

 In 2007 a club member, Jim Reilly, recognized that most of the big boat sailors were cruisers, not racers and were reluctant and ill prepared to participate in races, real races, governed by the official Racing Rules of Sailing. In an attempt to introduce those cruisers to the racing side of the sport, he devised "The Big Boys Race", an event that allows inexperienced sailors the opportunity to participate in a "regatta like" activity by sailing around a course in adherence solely to the Rules of the Road, not racing rules. It was, for many new members, their first look at sailing in a somewhat larger boat and participating in a "race". The BBR evolved into our "for fun" race where anyone in any boat could participate.  Jim ran these races, nearly a hundred and fifty of them, until the Fall of 2019.

At about that time, the fall of 2019, the Board recognized that the "racier" sailors in our club deserved a monthly race, a real race, using those Racing Rules of Sailing.  Since the word "race" appeared in it's name, the new race is called the "Big Boys Race" and the old, informal, rules of the road race is renamed the "Fun Run Around the Buoys".

Both events  are open to all club sailors, are a good time for new members to get to know and be known by other members of the club, and each will have a potluck meal following the event, please bring a dish to share.

The "Fun Run 'Round the Buoys" was renamed the "Reilly Run" in 2023 to honor Jim, and at the same time the "Big Boys Race" was renamed to the "HSA Fleet Race" to recognize that any and all sailors & boats are encouraged to participate in the races.

The Reilly's Run is usually scheduled for the first Sunday of the month and the HSA Fleet Race is held on the third Sunday of the month.

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